Thursday, December 8, 2011

Warm and Cozy

Did I mention that we found an amazing barn (dare I say it because I'm always afraid to jinx it). We have been so happy. The 10 stall barn is home to a 41 year old Arabian, a donkey, a hackney pony, a QH pony, a regular sized QH, a paint, and my Hanoverian/QH/TB mutt :) Its a lovely motley crew. 

Our BO texted me tonight to ask if I could put Granite's blanket on because it was going to be under freezing and she was stuck 2 hours away at her daughters house with a very sick grand-baby. Of course I'll put my own horses blanket on! And... um, I will totally do the evening barn chores, duh. 

It was really nice. The quiet barn and the horses muching their hay. I can't even hear the traffic out there, and the moon was beautiful. I loved the opportunity to really think about how much I love that barn and the feeling of leaving all the kids warm and safe in their stalls on a chilly night.



Wednesday, November 2, 2011

To Be Continued... promise!


Granite says "Don't forget about ME!"
Well, actually he says "I am sleepy!...yawn."
But regardless of  Granite's dialogue, I say, "we'll be blogging again soon!"

Granite moved to his current casa on August 1st. He LOVES his 14x12 matted stall that opens to his paddock and 8 acres of pasture. He likes his herd. He loves his barn owner and so do I. We are happy.

Some soundness issues had me out of the saddle for about three weeks last month and had the vet out to visit 3 times. But now we are back on track and feeling good. 

We recruited a former fellow boarder who is a senior at the college in our town (oh those were the days) to ride him once a week. Letting go was a bit tough, but she's good and he needs miles. It was a great choice.

G is primarily working on transitions and using his booty. We are hoping to get out on the trail some this winter with our Barn Owner and fabulous trail blazing friends (with trailers...trailers are key). I'm hoping the concentrated efforts in the schooling ring and the experiences of the great wide open (or the local county park) will make for a well-rounded pony ready for a schooling show debut next season... 2012, here we come!

Yesterday TK and I signed a lease on a (large) one bedroom apartment in the town where we both work and Granite lives. We are sad about leaving the city we currently live in (mainly the friends we have in it-- PS EVA MOVED THERE AND NOW I'M LEAVING!) but are excited to no longer be commuters (10-15 min to the barn or work from the new place! bohyah!). We officially move November 19th. And if I move again in the next three years, I will probably freak out. Me or the horse... no more moving! 

TK has had a busy and difficult time adjusting to his new job and coaching football. But, football season ended yesterday (with a 1-10 record, ouch) and now, maybe I will have some photos to make this blog worth of being blogged upon again since I can drag him and Daphne to the barn with me.

That being said, no commuting = 1 hour and 20 minutes more time in my life to make room for our blog again.

See you soon!




Monday, July 25, 2011

On the Road Again...

Yes, we are moving again. Saturday will be moving day. Becky has been too busy between the heat and her other clients to work with Granite (saaaaad face) and as she mentioned when she took us in while we looked for a new barn, she is over crowded and Granite couldn’t stay for long. Fortunately the barn I mentioned in my last post had room for us and was willing to take us in this weekend.

They drove by Granite’s current barn this weekend and didn’t stop by but noticed Granite (the only Grey) demanding attention from a group of children who had reached over the fence abutting the road. She seemed pleased that Granite was an obviously friendly horse. She did ask to Becky’s contact info and if she could call her to learn more about Granite and his daily routine. She also emailed me about ten questions regarding his routine, his preferences, our training and goals. This is a first for me. It makes me nervous like she may not like my answers and may tell us no we can’t come board there, but it also makes me excited that she cares and wants to know these things. Most barns tell you how they do it and you just conform. She seems to want to accommodate him as much as possible (which makes me happy and makes up for any lack of facilities—hot water, arena, jumps, washstall, in-barn restroom).

Shes going to email me her barn rules and boarding agreement soon. I’m also nervous about them although I don’t know why. I like to think I am a concerned, yet easy going boarder. I don’t get to be involved as much as I’d like, so I demand a lot of communication. BUT I am pretty understanding that horses get scratched and that barn owners have lives. I try to be tidy and I try to help when I am available. So hopefully things will work out. My last experience has me really jumpy. The location is great though and all signs point to her being attentive yet not crazy.

TK has orientation for his new job tomorrow and he starts coaching football at a new school (in the district where he will be teaching elementary school) tomorrow. So cross your fingers that that goes well for him. Now we just have to count down until when we get to move close to our jobs and my horse J

In other news, I got to go home and visit my family this weekend. I wish I could teleport and they weren’t 5 hours away. They are the best people ever and I just don’t see them enough. I got to see my best friend Eva too (shes back home with her family until she finds a big-girl-job). We neeeed a girls weekend. Shes on the job hunt and I’m just praying she ends up near me. Ideally, her horse is at the barn with Granite and we buy a trailer together and we all live happily ever after…. But I’ll accept her being within commute-for-a-dinner distance.

I appreciate all of your kind comments on my last post. I haven’t been on Granite yet, but I hope that after moving and him settling in, we can really get back to work. Hopefully I will see him more and we’ll be in a supportive atmosphere and we can just continue forward in yet another chapter in our relationship J Here’s to hoping!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Burn Out

So, it’s been over a month since I’ve updated you. My father chided me on the phone Monday night for leaving my readers hanging. I said “but dad, no one wants to hear the bad parts” but he told me you all deserved a run-down of events (and depressing ramblings) regardless.

I figured I would utilize my lunch break today to check-out of work for moment and to take the opportunity to reunite with my blogger-friends.

Through most of June I had been doing a good job of riding about 4 days a week and sometimes even seeing Granite more often than that. Unfortunately, none of my rides had been much fun. Granite is completely distracted by ANYTHING that takes place anywhere on the premises. He was spooking at things he has seen 100 times and at one point when he took off and almost careened into a fence, for the first time I felt scared on board my horse. That is not a feeling that I welcome. I am a self-proclaimed timid rider (you will NOT see me ever riding cross-country…no no no!) and its been so wonderful to have felt confident on my 3 year old during his whole first year under saddle. He may not have been perfect, but he was always level headed and honest. That’s all I ask. But that was the highlight of a downward spiral for us in June.

I like to think Granite hasn’t just jumped into the looney bin. There had to be factors contributing to his behavior. I think I can name a few. He was moved into a solitary pasture and his stall-mate moved into the “big” barn so he literally never got to touch the nose of another horse. He is an extremely social boy and he plays with others to the point of their annoyance. If you get him with another social horse, they play for hours on end. Taking all of that stimulation away from him was a lot and I think when I took him out, he has so much pent up anxiety (herd animals don’t rest well when alone either since no one is there to stand watch while they lay down). It was also very hot and he wasn’t getting to come in much at all. This normally would be fine with me since I prefer him being out 24/7 anyway, but it was HOT and there was no shelter in his pasture/ Some trees that provided an amount of shade, but no shelter from the elements. I don’t think these factors completely resulted in his behavior issues under saddle, but I think they compounded a big, strong 4 year old already trying to test his limits.

I realized that my problems with him undersaddle had not gotten any better in a month and I clearly was hitting a wall and with my confidence waning, I was not going to prevail. So, I called Becky. And I begged. She told me her barn was jam packed, but she would make room for us for a temporary training situation. If she can work through some of his bending, collecting, straightness, suppleness issues, then I can hopefully regain the positive tract we had been on late this winter into early spring.

So, although I felt guilty doing so, I gave the barn manager about 6 hours notice (it was the 1st of the month when I found out Becky could take him and I had no contract… so, who wants to worry about prorates?) and got Granite (and all of our stuff) out and on the road back to Becky’s barn. Her barn is 1 hour away from my office then 25 minutes back to my house which makes it difficult to see my horse much, but I knew it would be worth it for at least a month to let him decompress, get his head on straight, then have some tuning up with his Kindergarten Teacher. My horse was a different horse the day after he arrived at Becky’s. He was my dead-head, easy going, lazy boy again! Its like he kept thanking me. He went back into his huge pasture with 4 friends and he loved every moment.

I’m hoping Becky has some time in the saddle with him in the coming weeks. Now that we are past having lost THREE shoes in one shoeing cycle and the temps in the triple-digits, I think she will be able to concentrate on getting him back on the right track. At least I hope so.

All of the drama and the issues with Granite had really caused me some burn out. I was dreading going to the barn where I was constantly worried about Granite not being happy or safe. He was a terror to ride and I never looked forward to THAT after a long day at work. I was spending money and time right and left on extra farrier and emergency vet farm calls.

The events of late spring/ early summer completely shot my motivation and eagerness to be with my horse, at the barn, or even thinking about equines. It’s happened to me before (after a few years of showing heavily and being disappointed with a 2nd or 3rd place). I don’t know if “normal” horse people get to the point where they question being horse people. I start to think, I could be looking into buying a home (or at least a new car) if I didn’t have the horse. Yes, I could go visit my friend in Denver if I didn’t have the horse. Sure, I could have more time for my friends if I wasn’t juggling my whole life plus the horse. Maybe having a horse, being a public servant who plans to marry a school teacher is unreasonable…maybe its selfish. I know that I will never have the means to compete on any recognized level or with any regularity. Should I even own this lovely, large, talented warmblood… if we will never have the opportunity to really BE anything? These are the thoughts I start to think and when I know I’ve burnt myself out. Maybe they are legitimate thoughts, maybe I’m just in a equine-slump.

I know I would be lost without horses. I know I have committed to Granite. But at this juncture in my life, when I don’t see him I feel guilty and when I do go see him, it’s mostly out of obligation. That’s never fun, and I spent a lot of time and money on that horse because its my passion. It should be a reward for me (for the most part) to get to see my horse or ride or to even have him in my life. I have to take this opportunity to re-evaluate.

So while Granite is at training, I’m trying to take some time away. Yes, I still go see him 3-4 times a week. But I’ve only been on his back 1 time (bareback for about 15min) in the last three weeks. I’m trying to remove the guilt when I don’t make time for him by saying “he’s in training, he doesn’t need me right now.” I’m training for a ½ marathon in November, and while I’ll probably never do another one, I want to make training for this goal a priority. I want to readjust to what it is that I love about my horse and I want him to be able to be a horse and be happy. I hope to road trip with my best friend to a 3-day event in the next couple of months. I know not having any "barn friends" has a lot to do with it. Growing up, I always had my best friend to ride with and I looked forward to the camaraderie as much as I did the horses. Now its just me and G for the most part and I think just talking about horses and goals and riding will help me remember why invigorates me about it all. 

In the meantime, I’m looking for a barn next to my office (so I can see him on my lunch if necessary, or every day for a few minutes at least when I don’t have time to ride). I think I’ve found a place. Its definitely not fancy, but its in my price range, he would have a stall but it opens to the pasture and he can choose when he is in or out. The owner lives on site and she seemed really open to me having my own farrier/trainer/vet if I wanted. She can feed and hold for me. Theres no wash stall or hot water and the “arena” is just an area of the pasture marked off for riding. But I think being able to have a good relationship with the owner and her being willing to work to achieve a situation Granite is happiest in may overcome the physical facilities. Her horses (6 of them) were in good shape and she has a 40 yr old Arabian on site (I like the longevity). I’ve asked if I can put a deposit down to hold the spot until Granite is done with training (a few weeks). I’m awaiting a returned call on that. She is located 4 miles from some awesome trails and she says she likes to go to the occasional local fun show. Maybe for now, maybe even for always I should work toward trail rides and fun shows. Maybe I even look into getting a college student to catch-ride Granite 1-2 times a week so I won’t feel guilty when I need to spend the evening running, or with friends, or with TK. Maybe someone with the time and money for shows (and no horse for whatever reason) takes Granite to the level he deserves to be at, and I support them all the way?? Thoughts. 

Speaking of TK…. He got a JOB J 17 minutes from MY JOB! And 3 miles from the aforementioned barn. When our lease is up in December, we will be moving one county east. I will cease commuting and will begin living, working, and riding in the same area!!! Hopefully not spending hours of every day in the car will help me to relax and enjoy riding again.

Sorry for the depressingness--- see Daddy, I told you they didn’t want to hear my complaints.

Hope everyone out there is well. I AM keeping up with your blogs J

Friday, June 17, 2011

Hold on loosely...

Don't let go... if you cling to tightly.... you gonna lose control!

Let me tell you about the issues I've been working through lately. Contact. Granite either sticks his nose out, chews his bit, twists at the poll and says "no thank you mom." OR, he dips under the bit and I feel like I am riding in draw reins, he has no "whoa" and only curls up when I try to take contact. I think a lot of this is coming from his getting stronger and more brave and just testing what he can get away with. Let me tell you, I need to get into the gym and strengthen my arms because my pokey chill baby horse has grown up to be strong and fast and frankly, a rather challenging ride. I've toyed with the idea of sending him to "boot camp" but I'm not sure if I can afford and coordinate it. I had some breakthroughs last night in 1/2 halts and riding a bit more assertively myself (worrying less about equitation and simply adjusting to prevent Granite from taking advantage). I also think I need to incorporate some lunging. He's in a pasture alone now and is in some of the time, so the huge 4 year old has lots of energy when I ask him to move in the arena. I need to take that into consideration and make it less of a struggle by letting him work the kinks out BEFORE I get on him. All in all, its not bad, but I need to start making some adjustments to make it better. I can tell you that when we get it right, he is amazing. Anyone know how I can just get him a modeling contract with Dover or Smartpak or something. I think he'd rather not be a show horse but wants to smile for the camera and just be handsome for a living :)

Hope all is well in the blog world. I'm keeping up with all of you on lunch breaks via Google Reader although I may not comment.

I'll leave you with some photos of the handsome devil (being mischievous or naughty per usual).

Beggin sonic tater tots of his dad. Note Daphne wants some too.

Me & Granite and our shadow.

Above the bit, twisted at the poll 

Below the bit, no contact!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A trail was a good way to ease back into the week!

I got to ride 4 days last week (in a row) which was lovely. I had 3 really fun/positive rides and I was pretty proud of Granite. I was really glad to FINALLY have him back healthy. His second canine tooth has yet to cut through and his wounds on his tongue and leg have finally healed. Poor Jen (trainer)'s mare is out for 6-8 months with a stifle injury. I went to join her for a visit at her farm and we spent the evening with a glass of wine and lots of horsie discussion. She is such an independent woman with such a talent for riding yet she never lets on to it and pours all her efforts into her mare (not into showing or lofty goals like she could... but into doing right by her mare like she should). I offered Jen a few nights a week on Granite and I hope she will take me up on it even thought she lives 20-30min from my barn. It would be great for him and will keep her in a saddle while she goes through a second rehab with her horse.

I left town Fri-Monday for the beach with TK and 5 of his friends. We had a great time and I came home pretty relaxed. For once I felt rested when I got to work on a "monday" morning. But it was about 100 degrees today and I did not feel excited to school in the arena so I decided to try and take Granite out on the little trails that surround the farm. It was his first time going out alone and he did really well. We even met up with 3 other boarders in the big field between 2 of the sections of trail. I did some trot and canter work out there ad riding in an open area really highlighted our issue with hi popping his shoulders. I have a lesson this weekend (YAY) so I know I need to ask for advice on that. Perhaps some more rides in the open field will help us not rely on the rail as much for help.

Open Field and finding friends

 Through the trails on the ride back

The barn manager stopped me on the way back to the barn to tell me that she tried to put Granite in the newly created pasture since his pasturemate moved this weekend, but he galloped around non-stop and ran into horses like he was a "bowling ball". She said he wouldn't stop so he's now in solitary. He can see two mares which are also in solitary in two adjacent pastures (none of the mares at this barn are allowed to have pasture mates-- something I have never experienced before). He seems to not mind being alone and its probably a good thing because he will not stop pestering any horse he goes out with. His stall neighbor moved into the empty spot created by his pasturemate leaving and now he is apparently trying to eat electrical fixtures for fun times. He has a jolly ball... But I think he is getting a stall guard to keep himself from electrocution...

Hopefully I will get to see Granite a few more times this week and have a lesson! Next week is busy busy, so I will enjoy it while it lasts!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Visit from the grandparents

I think I'll start riding again this week :)

G and his 'daddy' TK

G and me with My Daddy!

Love my big guy!


My mom and the pony!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Oh Granite... his little tongue just doesn't won't to heal... although it doesn't appear to be causing him pain. He devoured his apple today. His knee, however, he doesn't want me near it. He will nearly strike out to keep me away from it. But, he's as sound as he can be... oh perplexing!

Yep the tooth is STILL sitting in the wound. I don't know what else we can do unless I ask them to extract it or we just wait for it to grow enough so his tongue falls between his new canines. sigh.

 This is what remains of his big knee injury. 

Also, I'm registering for a 1/2 Marathon this week. Its in November. Thank God because I'm in such awful shape. Even with six months to train, 13.1 miles scares the ever living crap out of me. I must (find then) maintain motivation. I think I may start a training blog, just for some accountability and inspiration. Now... finding time to train. Looks like I'll be getting up at 5am now.

Monday, May 16, 2011

When it Rains....

Oh Granite....

So two weeks ago I finally did it! I ordered tall boots. Marched in to the tack store and was greeted by my favorite sales girl and she measured me up for a nice pair of boots. I mean I was thinking NICE. Like Vogels anyone? The Young Rider customs. But then she asked if I had lost weight since the last time we searched for boots (on a much smaller budget). I said, "yeah, a little-- its been two years." And she mentioned that I fit perfectly into the Ariat size chart. AND that Ariat had redone their zippers and that their nicer models has really good track records for being sturdy. So something in me said "Rachel, you ride a 4 year old, extremely clumsy boy and you will hate him if he runs you into the fence and scratches $800 boots... you fit into the off-the-shelf variety.... save $300??!!" So, I went with my gut and ordered the Ariat Crowne Pro Zips.

And its a damn good thing I did. I came out to the barn the very next day to see that Prince Charming's front left leg was swollen from the "thigh" to the fetlock. About 3 times its normal size. With an offending small wound on his knee. I freaked out but dosed him with bute and antibiotics after washing with iodine, hosing his leg and applying antibacterial ointment. The next day I asked the barn manager to call with an update. At 9am, I get the call that his leg is worse. Time to call the vet. AND explain to my new boss that although I have no available sick or vacation time, I need to leave to drive 40 minutes to meet the vet (I work in a different city now... thus the lack of blogging). When I get there that afternoon, his leg is , fortunately looking better. The vet prescribed antibiotics, cold hosing and no riding for a while. Sigh.

Two days later, I'm holding Granite's dinner because it has medicine in it and he's a sloppy eater and I wanted to be sure he ate it all. I notice what looks like blood in his mouth. Once he finished scarfing dinner I pried his mouth open (despite his objections) and realized that there was a 1inch lesion (hole, wound, whatever you want to call it-- it looks painful). He has a baby canine that just came in (he got his teeth floated exactly 1 month ago) and is so sharp that where his tongue sits on the small tooth, it was literally wearing a hole in his poor baby horse tongue. I almost cried! And then, I called the vet.... AGAIN. Two times-- one week! And yet again, I have to explain to my new boss that I need to leave a few hours early to met the vet...again.

The vet came out and tried her best to file this tiny little tooth without getting his gum. She gave me some antiseptic mouth wash and he is already on antibiotics. She assured me that wounds in the mouth tend to heal quickly. BUT, she felt 3 more canines on the verge of eruption. I've been keeping an eye on it and the bottom left is about to come through. His little mouth really doesn't look a whole lot better. I feel horrible for him and even if he wasn't on vacation due to his knee (the swelling is gone, he is sound but he hates for me to get NEAR the wound-- which concerns me), he would not have a bit in his mouth until this heals. Halter riding may be in my future.
I realize this is hard to see. Its a cell phone and its in the (moving) horse's mouth. But for reference, the shiny pink is his top gums. My finger is to the right of the "here" and the dark line you see is the wound on the under side of his tongue that I'm holding up. OUCH! It was red and purple on Wednesday when I found it.

But, aside from the boy being laid up, I've seen him 12 of the past 13 days (yay cold hosing) which may be a record. I'm getting even more attached to my lovely man. I took some (classy) cell phone shots of him being ADORABLE while I groomed him after work today. It was storming out and it was so nice just to groom the boy and give him an apple and give him kisses.

Oh Hi Mom! I've seen you a lot lately!

Yes, I am the most handsome boy alive!

 Is that you back there?
Nope, his stall isn't up higher, big man just towers over everyone (1250lb at last tape and 16.2h)
Don't leave mom!!! (sound of heart breaking)

Oh , PS, theres a "fun" show on June 11th. Its $5 to get in the gate (competitors or spectators) and all the classes are free. Its just an open show. Western and english classes. I think I plan on taking Granite (assuming he is well) and just showing him around. If he's calm, I'll take him in some classes. If he's freaking out, then I paid $5 for some great exposure for him. I hope things align and we can go, it seems like a great opportunity!

I miss you all but try to catch up on blogs vis Google Reader (thats why I don't comment much anymore) during my lunch breaks (when I get them).

Cheers,

Rachel

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Catching Up

Hello Blogworld,

Since I didn't make it out to the barn today (lame) I figured it would be the perfect opportunity to fulfill my promise to you all to blog this week. When I left my office at quarter after 5:00, it was pouring down rain, sideways wind, black skies, scary! I got on the interstate and proceeded West toward home (and the barn) at a blazing 45MPH... joy. I HATE driving in the rain and my beloved 12 year old 'red car' leaks on me during particularly torrential downpours. So, after about 15minutes of that fun, I made the executive decision to abandon barn and head for the hills (also known as my apartment). Of course, the closer I come to my city of residence, the clearer the skies get--- but I remain resolute that Granite gets this evening off and I will visit with my long lost acquaintance-- they gym. The gym was nice, although I hate when I realize how quickly one can get out of shape! Remember when I used to knock down miles at the time? I ran one... and then decided the stair-stepper may be more kind to my lungs (incorrect-- in case you wondered). Anyhoo I survived 30 whopping minutes... barely (and a 30 minute walk on mu lunch break). Can you tell I'm back on a mission to be a little less fat since I've put on 8lb since dating TK? I'm sure this huge glass of merlot I'm currently consuming will put me well on my way... riiiight.

So, wondering what we've been up to? Riding! And working. We've had another two lessons (I think) with Jen since moving to Oak Meadow. One was lovely and the other maybe overfaced Granite and myself with some little gymnastics. We have since decided to step back from jumping just a little and work on striding and such. Granite manages to hurt himself in the pasture daily. Its always a new surprise to see what wound he has come up with. I guess thats what happens with my little 4 year old busy-body is in a pasture with lots of older (less tolerant ) boys. Oh yeah, may I point out, the little man turned 4 on April 13th. 4 days before I turned 25! Youch, we are getting old!

On his 4th B-day Granite decided to turn into a pill-pot and spent almost 2 weeks being intolerable under saddle. I seriously started comparison shopping on dream horse to see what I could sell the kid for (I liked what I saw actually-- then I envisioned the vacation I could take for his sale price and the coach bags I could purchase for his monthly board...sigh... the life of a non horse owner). I think I ascertained that the behavior coincided with the implementation of a new bridle and ceased when I changed to another new bridle.... Either way, he got his head back on straight after 2 weeks of crazy. His Aunt Eva came to visit recently and rode him for the first time in a while. I love love love getting to watch him go undersaddle with someone else :) It always makes me feel a little better about our progress, or lack there of.

Granite did manage to pop a splint in his left front (same as his special hoof) after being shoed by a different farrier. Randomly he had a gland behind his left jaw (throatlatch) swell as well. Fortunately both of these things happened right before the vet came for spring shots (and teeth float all a whopping $237 argh) but the vet was less than helpful and told me to "get them examined if they got bigger" even though I would like to think I asked him to examine both things THEN (I wasn't able to be there-- joys for working 45min away and having ZERO vacation leave). Thankfully the glad swelling went away and theres never been any lameness in the leg and from what I read these are common in youngesters and cause little to no problem after they become boney lumps. The vet did advise me to ride him in front boots from now on and go easy over fences for a while (already determined). Our barn is switching vets after that experience and we had a meet and greet with the new vet last week. I feel pretty confident about trying her out! Granite did pull a shoe yesterday and I decided that because his back toes are wearing really quickly and the splint and my general confidence in my Super Farrier, I'm going to have TK arrange to hold Granite so that I can revert back to my trusted shoer. He's been working with Granite since G was a yearling and if nothing else, he's much less expensive and he knows how to calm my nerves.

Since G pulled the shoe, he just got a bath yesterday and you heard about the weather shenanigans today (after the tornadoes of the last couple weeks, I'm weary), so I'm really looking forward to riding tomorrow.

One last piece of news. My dad had to have (yet another) full hip replacement and is stuck home alone for quite a while. TK and I went to visit him and momma over the holiday weekend and we (maybe I didn't quite consult TK actually) decided to leave little Daphne Dog with her grandfather while he heals. This way he won't be home alone and Daphne spends her weekdays at Aunt Diannes at daycare, so I figured a few weeks at the beach being a therapy dog would do everyone (but TK and I who miss the dog like mad) some good. Mom and Dad report that Daphne is doing her job and helping some very stressed and recovering individuals smile a little more often.

Sorry for having been absent for so long, I work on websites and social media for the majority of my day (if I'm not writing press releases, speeches, or mayoral proclamations) and when I get home at night (typically around 8PM) I usually don't want to go anywhere near the computer :)

I got a Flip for my birthday-- yay-- so enjoy some rough footage of the dog and pony.



Monday, April 25, 2011

I promise

To blog this week!

Cross my heart <3

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Spring Has Sprung and Hope is High

Hi blog-land. Just wanted to pop in and share with you the photos from our rid eon Saturday. It was 80 degrees and sunny with a light breeze. It was beautiful and a great day to spend time with my Gran-Man. I rode (and had the ring to myself!) then gave Granite a much needed bath before grazing him by the pond while cleaning my tack. Daphne and TK were obviously there to complete our happy little family on this beautiful first spring weekend. 

Granite was pretty good. Fairly soft and responsive. We've been trying to school over little fences more often and Granite really seems to enjoy himself. After reviewing the pics it becomes glaringly obvious that I haven't jumped with any consistency in about 7 years (wow, I'm old) and that Granite really has a lot of work to do to learn where is feet are and where they need to be in order to safely and efficiently clear fences. It will all come in time-- baby steps for now. 

Unfortunately, the big let down was that we were unable to attend the Hunter Pace today. I had the stomach flu and was out of work Mon-Wed and apparently a variation of the same streamed through the barn. The barn manager and her entire family got sick and were unable to go. Dianne had filled her trailer, so I didn't get the opportunity to take Granite out, but the Hunter Pace season is a long one and we will have plenty of opportunities in the future. If nothing else, Jen promised she would save a spot for me and come out of her way to make sure I can ride in the Hunter Pace on my 25th birthday next month (I think thats all I want... that and some tall boots of course). 

Well, its back to NCAA basketball watching for me... enjoy some pictures TK took on Saturday of our schooling. Granite is looking pretty good. I have to say I am impressed with all of his progress these last couple of months. I'm so ready for spring and all its promise!







Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Our First Lesson at Oak Meadow: Win!

Hey guys. Sorry for my habitual absence. Thanks to the prodding of some fellow bloggers (Nicku, Marissa... not naming any names), I have been convinced to use some of my sick day to send the blog world a quick update. I managed to contract some horrible GI bug and have been out of work for the last two days. I HAVE to go back to work tomorrow, but I'm really weak and haven't really tried eating solids in two days (wait, do bananas count as solid?). I also haven't seen the big grey monster in 2 days. 

We did leave on a good note. I saw Granite 6 days last week (and rode 5 of them)! The cherry on the sundae was that I had a lesson with Jen on Sunday. She has an amazing way of communicating with me so that I understand what I'm doing wrong and what Granite understands. 

We worked on me slowing down my posting and not bugging Granite enough with my legs. He was a really lethargic baby horse and I just keep pestering him to move forward. Turns out, he IS moving forward and I am causing him to rush! 

We worked on Granite doing softly and keeping him from dipping below the bit. We also added some sitting trot circles and canter transitions from them. THEN, we worked on jumping. We did the highest fences we have ever tried (maybe 1.5 feet). Granite did so well! No refusals. Jen used poles on either side leading up to the jump to encourage straightness and she used a crossrail with high sides to encourage him to hit the center of the fence. Granite was a pro and I was a proud momma. I was worn out after my lesson: it was amazing! I cannot wait to do it again.

AND... we will be competing in Granite's FIRST ever Hunter Pace at Yadkin Valley Hounds on Sunday! Wahoooo!

Until that update... enjoy some photos of last Sunday's lesson. Courtesy my lovely assistance, TK.









Monday, February 28, 2011

Granite Conquers the Trail

Sunday was day two at Granite’s new barn. He slept easy during his first night in a stall. There were shavings in his tail and on his side to prove it. He ate every ounce of his hay but seemed to have enjoyed himself.
We decided that day two at the new barn would be the opportune time to invite some friends and hit the trail. Haha. There are a few miles of trails adjacent to the barn and Little Rachel (Barn manager’s daughter) and her pony Logan offered to show us around. Jen and her expert Hunt Horse, Pickle, and D and her Master Trail horse, Jay, both trailered over to join us. We were also joined by another boarder (Harriet) and her horse (Nacho). Of course, I have no visual for you, but there were 4 chestnuts… and Granite.

We tacked up and headed off. Granite apparently has a rather large stride because we migrated to the front of the pack rather quickly. We stayed there for the majority of the time. We went by bright orange ribbons, a windmill, no fewer than 2 tree-stands, many puddles, culverts and inclines. Granite only balked at the first puddle, but after some encouragement from Nacho, he went right through. He didn’t think twice about crossing the puddles on the way back! Granite even took the lead for a while. The trail is right next to a huge interstate, so it was loud. But, Granite handled it all like a pro. We even took a loop around the lake that scared Granite to death on Saturday. He didn’t seem to mind since he had company.

After the trail concluded, we took all the horses in the outdoor arena. I put G through his paces. He hates the bit I currently have in his mouth (a new one has shipped and should be here any day now) and he is still very looky at the new barn, so the ride wasn’t great. BUT, he rode with 4 other horses in a new arena and gave me all of his transitions. He was really a champ. Little Rachel got on and hacked him for me as well. She loved him and it made me smile.

After hosing Granite off, we went to lunch. We got back (Granite had rolled) and I decided to take advantage of the 77 degree weather and bathe the monster. This was his first bath in 4 months! I washed him twice and still could have gotten more dirt out. He stood for probably 45 minutes in the new washstall while boarders sat around and chatted with me and I bathed him. Everyone is so impressed with how patient and calm my young horse is. He has made me so so proud this weekend. I clearly don’t give the big guy enough credit.

Taking all of this into account, I think I’m ready to take him to some Hunter Paces and Schooling shows next month. Little Rachel does a lot of these things and when there’s and open spot in the trailer, I think I’ll try to catch a ride. I know he will do fine competing in a hunter pace (slow or moderate division) and I think I’ll take him just to ride him in the warm up ring at the first couple of shows. I don’t think that actually competing In a show is too far off for us! I just need to get a few more lessons, get the biting issue fixed, and save enough money for a pair of decent tall boots. We will be there so soon!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Moving Day

I left my man all snuggled in his new stall, munching on his hay and generally ignoring me.

He got his new shoes on this morning and then Becky loaded him up (first try!) and we took him out to Oak Meadow Farm. It was a bittersweet goodbye with Becky but shes been amazing and I am so fortunate to be able to leave a place on such good terms.

We were greeted by lots of happy faces. They all oooed and ahhhed over Granite and I felt like I owned the most amazing equine on the planet. He suddenly grew to about 18 hands and his eyes doubled in size during the ride over. He looked and snorted, but he gets an A+ for how well he handled the whole experience. We led him into the big barn and the "annex". We took him in washstalls and down driveways. Then we put him out with 3 other horses and they played and sniffed and then happily went to grazing. So... Tyler and I were invited out to lunch with 7 others from the barn. It was so nice! I've never really had a "barn family".

Then, I got back and the Barn Manager's daughter (also named Rachel) convinced me that Granite would be just fine to go for a ride. So, I tacked up and took him for his first ride in an arena that wasn't Becky's! He was spooky and looky and all of his energy was up-and-down, but he was sane. There were 4 other horses riding with us and he really handled himself well. Then we walked around the open unfenced land behind the barn with 3 other horses! He was a pro. He also dwarfs the other horses and walks much faster (who knew he was so big!).

I unpacked my stuff into 2 huge, lovely tack lockers and tucked Granite in and then left barn. It took me ELEVEN minutes to get home! AHHH-MAZING. Tomorrow, I'm meeting Jen, D and "Little Rachel" (I'm "Big" Rachel, which is SO not cool) to go on Granite's first trail ride (on the property). My horse is so figgen amazing.

So is my boyfriend who helped me through most of the process then drove an hour round trip to go get a blanket I left at Becky's barn. He also took tons of photos of the whole process.... so, enjoy!









Thursday, February 24, 2011

1 more big change for me...

Hello blog-world.

I’ve been in my new position for 1 month today. I absolutely love what I do. I stay extremely busy but I am learning new things and I feel like I am making a difference. The job is everything that I hoped it would be (although I wouldn’t have been disappointed if the job came with a few thousand more dollars a year, but that’s just greedy). I was out of town last week (fortunately, I was in Eva’s city) and I’m there again next week (for 3 days) then next month I’m at another 3-day conference. I also have some deadlines staring me down in the next two weeks! EEEK. Fortunately, my boyfriend has been a saint and he has dinner waiting for me and keeps up with laundry to take some stress off of me.

Getting to see Granite has been difficult. His barn is over an hour away from my office (some of you won’t feel sorry for me here, but that’s a LOT for me). Then, the drive from the barn to my house is another 30 minutes. It makes it difficult to get much accomplished when, on the best of days, you get to the barn by 6 (and we don’t have lights). I don’t get home until nearly 8 and then I zonk out by 10 because I get up at 5:30 every morning. I try to work out in the midst of all of that, but it often falls by the wayside.

But when I DO get to the barn, I have seen MAJOR improvements in my horse. I’ve been averaging three rides a week (not too bad, considering). His go-to bit broke and I bought a new one from D. It fits well but its too harsh (Dr. Bristol) and he HATES it. All of my others are “normal” sized and are too small for Mr. Big-Head. So, he has to deal with a bit that makes him unhappy, but our transitions are snappy and we are getting beautiful stretchy trots. We has 3-stride simple lead changes with regularity last night.

The biggest news of all is in regards to the barn situation. You remember the Dream Barn. Well, they worked out a way to take me on at a rate I could afford. We will be in the “old barn” (I shall lovingly call it the “Annex”). There are 2 horse stalls and a ‘run’ like area for their mini horse and 2 mini donkeys. There is a washstall with hot and cold, a laundry room, bathroom, tackroom (tack lockers from floor to ceiling—and I get 2). There is also a nice concrete breezeway under the overhand of the barn with cross ties. AND we are able to use all of the facilities of the rest of the barn which include a lighted indoor with synthetic dust-free footing (also a plush lounge overlooking that ring with a flat screen tv, leather couches, fridge stocked with soda and coffffeeee maker). There’s a lovely outdoor ring with jumps. There’s a field for hill work and trails. My trainer, Jen, lives 20minutes away and I’m on the way for D to pick me up for trail rides. They show there…often, and claim that I can hop in the trailer when we want to join. BEST. OF. ALL. The place is 37 minutes from the office (my house is 35 min from the office) and then 13 min back to my house. So, if my math is correct, going to the barn will take an additional 15 minutes (not the hour its taking me now).  

Now the cons. Granite will be stalled. He has to stay in sometimes (you know, snow, rain, night time—day in the summer). I HATE that. I want him to be a horse and eat hay and grass all day. Now, I’m sure he’ll need more grain and he’ll have too much pent up energy from the extra grain and the lack of exercise. Then, he’s more likely to get injured. The barn just feels like more of a rider’s barn instead of a horse’s barn. I just feel like I'm making a selfish decision here... or, I'm just trying to find something to worry about bc thats how I operate
But, regardless, we are giving it a shot. We are moving Saturday. Becky is taking us over. She has eased my mind by telling me that I am always willing to come back. I LOVE my barn and I would never leave if it were conveniently located. I commute to work 70 minutes a day and that extra hour is just enough to make me not want to go to the barn somedays (and that makes me sad). So, we’re going to give this a try. Granite can put on his big-boy pants and learn to be a show horse (the whole reason I got him). Hopefully he will just continue to wow me and be the most tolerant and well-meaning baby horse ever! We have our trainer and the facilities to allow me to ride much more often. We also have a way to get to horse shows and other activities to help Granite become a more well-rounded equine citizen.

I’d say that I’ll take pics, but Granite pulled my camera out of my back pocket 2-weeks ago and threw it on the concrete… so, time to camera shop again (if anyone’s counting, that’s THREE cameras that I’ve been through this year). Until, then, check out every inch of the Dream Barn’s website and imagine a big, goofy, grey guy with huge ears in the pictures J

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Busy Bee

I haven't had a moment to breathe let alone write and even more upsetting, I haven't kept up with anyone's blogs in the past two weeks. Sad to say the least. BUT-- since I'm really good at bullet point summaries, I thought I would share one with y'all.

-Saturday the 22nd: most amazing lesson ever. Jen is awesome! She reads Granite and I and I understand and agree with her suggestions. Dianne got to see me ride Granite for the same time. Best of all, they were both really impressed with Granite and how far he has come and his potential for success in his future career. I'm dying for another Jen lesson!

-Monday the 24th: first day of work. I am slammmmmed. They put a lot of stock in the position there. I get to be in on departmental head meetings (15 folks out of a staff of 600 or so). I have already had tons of meetings with different department directors about how I can help them get the word out. I've worked late most every night or brought work home when I do get home on time. Theres a 3 month backlog in addition to a steep learning curve (Adobe InDesign WILL be the death of me). BUT, I know I'm going to absolutely love my job. Its exactly what I've always wanted to do. I'm sooo fortunate and excited!

-Rest of the week: A blur including a toilet incident and a flat tire on top of work work work.

-Saturday 29th: go to barn, find Granite's knee looking more like a balloon. He got kicked Friday night. Heartbroken because I was supposed to go to my first trail ride with the guy off of the property. Jen, Dianne and their friend. Cheri were going to haul us to a local park and it was going to be amazing. But, it didn't happen. Instead I ended up going to the barn two times a day to cold hose and bute the big guy. My non-horsie boyfriend has been sainted because he went out on the two nights I worked late to cold hose him for me this week. He's looking much better and I'm hoping for normalcy before next week.

-This weekend: Winter Horse Health Seminar and SuperBowl party!

Alright. Now, if you'll excuse me, its time for Ben and Jerry's and Greys anatomy (with the work Laptop in my lap of course.)

Cheers and I miss y'all.

Friday, January 21, 2011

"...the end of a decade, but the start of an age."

Well here it is. My last day of work at my first 'real' job. I've been so fortunate to have been in a supportive and forgiving environment while I embarked on my journey into a career in local government. Today is really bittersweet for me. There are so many things that I loved about my job. I often get to be a one woman show. I can dress up and pretend to be important or come to work with my hair a mess (scrunchy and not blow dried). I wear jeans on Friday, but really could do so any day because we don't have a dress code. I can take lunch whenever I want or go run errands. I can have visitors to my office or run and meet the farrier in the middle of the day. Calling in sick or taking time off is never an issue. I encounter many citizens and volunteers who are truly passionate about their town and they inspire me. Cleaning out my office brought a tear to my eye last night but then the nearly 3 hour night meeting dried it right up (thank god Grey's was a repeat bc I don't have DVR and I wouldn't have wanted to wait and watch it online).

But now I'm preparing myself for a new mountain to climb. One year out of school and I will already be serving in the position which I had been coveting. I will be the Public Information Officer for a city of nearly 52,000 (coming from working for a town of 5,000). I get to be the face of the municipality and will be set with the task of convincing people that their tax dollars actually do good things for them. I will try to show folks that we bureaucrats are actually well meaning public servants who want to make their community a better place. Thats a lofty mission, I know, but its certainly the broadest intent of what I do! I think I also have big shoes to fill when I arrive on Monday morning. I am scared to death but excited to (hopefully and ideally) be "important" and needed and challenged and useful. I hope this is a place where I can grow and learn and develop my skills to be a better public administrator.

I'm really not sure what the next step is. I don't think this will be the pinnacle of my career (at least not salary wise) but this IS what I want to be doing. So I hope that I can (afford to) stay put for a while. I haven't had consistency in my life in a really long time (try... high school). I'm always working toward the next step. But right now, I'm entering a new "age" in my career, I have my equine partner who I think can allow me to reach the height of my equestrian abilities (I will never be a high-level competitor, but I think Granite will allow me to compete and reach my own goals and the goals I have set for him), I have the love of my life by my side and I have family back home who are huge cheerleaders (and the the fact that they are so far away is literally the biggest regret I have right now). I also have a small handful of devoted friends who are around to support me, provide me with comic relief and to remind me not to be too hard on myself (talking to Jordy and D specifically on that last portion).

I hope that I can wrap my competitive and forward thinking brain around this new found stability. I hope that I can live in the now and make the NOW better instead of always worrying about what is next. I haven't really allowed myself "resolutions" this new year because of all of these transitions and uncertainties (new job, new schedule, new barn....) but I have some goals for this new "age".

(Professional)- I want to come in to this new job with an open mind. I want to embody the role of "PIO" and make the position the best it can be. I want to be devoted to my position, the municipality, and my career as a public servant.

(Equestrian)-  I want to give Granite every opportunity that I can to be the best equine partner he can be. I don't want to rush him. I don't want to allow him to stagnate and not grow. I want to challenge his mind and his body with everything from trail riding to schooling shows to lessons and clinics. I want him to be a jack of all trades even if he ends up being a master of none. Hes my lifetime horse and I don't want to give him any limits.
- I want to be a better rider. I want to explore new disciplines (someone let me HUNT for god sake). I want to be open minded. I want to learn more technical knowledge and become a horse woman and not just a rider.

(Personal)- If I can provide even 1/2 of the enrichment to TK's life that he provides mine, I will have succeeded. I want to understand that I DO deserve everything that he gives me but I also want to constantly remind myself that he deserves just as much. I need to allow myself to be spoiled, but I want to pay every bit of it back to him. My wish for our relationship is that each of us is always thinking that we are the one with the better end of the deal.
- I want to be a better daughter. I am blessed with two of the best human beings on the planet as parents. Seriously. Not only are they amazing humans, but they are amazing parents. They are there for me and they lift me up but they force me to be independent and to take responsibility for my actions. I just hope that I can find a way to actively participate in our family dynamic despite the 5 hour physical distance. I hope that I can support them in a way that they have supported me. My family is nearing some hard times and while I may not be able to help bear the burden because of my proximity, I hope that I can be the emotional support they deserve.
-I love my friends. I am so lucky to have a best friend who I actually put in the "family" category. I also have some long distance friends who don't get the interaction that they deserve. I hope to foster growth in those relationships in the future. My 'invisible' friends with whom I interact through the web-- you don't realize how much you of an impact you have on my 'real' life! I also hope to devote more time to the ladies who live right around the corner. They are a golden resource that shouldn't be taken for granted. I also hope to reach out to new friends who share my interests and values and be a more inclusive person to those I meet.
-I want to pay so many things forward. I NEED to volunteer. To have fellowship with my community. To serve on a board and become active in a community group. Although I may not love the geographic location that my life has brought me to, it seems that its quickly becoming home and now I need to embrace the community. Not only should my profession be about making places better, but my life should be as well.

So there you have it (for those who made it to the end of this emotional roller coaster).... To quote the all knowing Taylor Swift (good thing TK doesn't keep up with my blog-- bc he may dislocate an eye from rolling it so hard) "its the end of a decade, but the start of an age." My life is NOW and I don't want to regret it. Heres to living and loving and seeing life from between two oversized grey ears!!!

CHEERS,

<3 Rach

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Dream Barn Please

Asking for some collective finger crossing today. I checked out barn #2 this weekend. The woman had just moved in. It was icy and cold. I wans't particularly UNIMPRESSED... I just wasn't impressed either. There are only 2 pastures and both are 5 strings of hotwire. They are also 15 acres. I'm just so worried that Granite will get hurt and no one will notice. It is also a pretty good hike from home. The "indoor" is one of those psudeo indoors that is actually the aisle of the barn. The stalls are on one side and the rest is just empty. It is about the size of 2 round pens. She also has a round pen, but no outdoor arena or jumps (although she claims to have a full course).  There is a wash stall and lounge but everything was pretty old. The price is incredible and her horses looked well kept. I won't discount it completely, but I am not excited about the prospect of going there.... thus, my search continues.

And I found THIS little ditty through D. She and Jen are really good friends with the Barn Manager. I have also met the Barn Manager's daughter through my 4-H group. The farm is 15min from home and 30 from work. There is an indoor as well (a real one), so I could ride at night. I emailed about availability and rates but I bet you any amount of money that it is way outside of my price range (ideally, I don't want to pay more for board than I do rent, but I'm willing to go $20 over). I'm hoping that my connections may allow the Barn Manager to CONSIDER offering pasture board (if they don't typically do so) or cutting me some type of deal. Please cross your fingers... and toes. That place would be my answer!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Barn Search (#2)

I called the owner/manager/proprietor (not sure which) of a barn for which I saw an ad on CraigsList. This wasn't my first choice because I think its a bit far away (I don't yet have the physical address, so I really have no clue as to exact time of travel). But, barn #1 didn't really pan out, so I assume I should expand the search a bit. It can't hurt to look and since I'm not in a huge rush to move Granite, its worth a shot.
I actually called the woman (which is shocking because I HATE to use the phone). I was pleasantly surprised that she knew my name (I guess she saved my number after our initial email correspondence). She had also mapquested the mileage from my place of employment to her barn (11 miles she says). She asked me some questions about what I was looking for and told me some info about what she had (15 acre pasture board pasture with a sturdy run-in and round bale 24/7. 3 acres of the pasture is pine trees, the rest is grassy. she also mentioned the fencing is 6 strands of hot wire....). She sounded articulate, knowledgeable and kind. So, perhaps my hopes are up a little too high.

Check it out and give me your opinions. These barns are often severely misrepresented so its almost fun to guess what I will ACTUALLY find :)

http://greensboro.craigslist.org/grd/2126242227.html

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

I. Miss. My. Horse.

SOOOO FRIGGEN MUCH. I haven't seen him since Sunday and won't until tomorrow. It sucks. Snow sucks, meetings suck. I want spring time. I want longer days.  I want to RIIIIIDE (and bathe, and clip).

The good news is the Granite's  nose didn't continue to bleed and when I saw him Sunday he was doing rather well. He did have a goofy spot on his hoof (heel bulb) that looked like an abscess had popped, but we never had lameness issues. So, I think it may just be from the cold/damn soil and him being barefoot.

I checked out that barn on Saturday. It wasn't really a barn. More like the skeleton of where a barn once stood. She showed me where the stalls would be. Where the ring was going. How she was going to convert the dairy barn to a washdown....etc. She was really nice and the property was amazing and super convenient-- but she had only been there a month and she appeared to be a bit transient (mentioning 2 moves to me in our conversation). I think if I find nothing else acceptable in the next month or two, I would check back to see her progress and them mark her off the list for good OR give it a try (the location is PERFECT). I do plan to call this afternoon to set up an appointment (hopefully for saturday) to look at another place. Pasture board is cheap and they claim to have an indoor arena and a lesson program. I like a laid back barn, so I immediately think this place may have too many children/hands on instructors BUT its worth giving it a shot since I think its in a good location and the price is right. Low expectations, but I will give it a shot.

This week should be BUCKETS of fun. I'm off to my pre-employment physical today then back to work for a night meeting. Friday, I have to go to the DMV to renew my license and then to the girlie doctor. Two things worse than most any fate! At least I get to look forward to a dinner with Jen, D and the three significant others of Friday night!

Ya'll stay warm out there!

-Rach

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Who is ready for a stream of consciousness post??

oh you are??
awesome, bc I've been too lazy to blog for fear of being required to write in complete sentences (or organized thoughts).

So. Its 2011. It came in uneventfully. TK and I were too damned tired to go anywhere (a few days of moving and unpacking and trying to invent storage spaces in a 1 bedroom apt will do that to you). We watched a movie and set an alarm so we wouldn't forget to toast at midnight (at least we bought some cheap champaign and didn't completely ignore the holiday). Then we got to spend the whole rainy, cold weekend doing family things. With his family. And, in case I forgot to mention, we are not technically family (yet!). This makes LARGE family social engagements feel a touch awkward for me. But, I soldiered through and earned good girlfriend points (to make up for the often thoughtless girlfriend times).

Now, I'm struggling to get through the 1st week of the new year. Its been a rough winter in NC and poor Granite, on 24/7 turnout, was struggling with snowballs in his shoes. Our superiorly intelligent farrier determined that his upright hoof's angles were doing well enough to ride him w/o shoes in favor of him being able to handle the snowy winter in stride (haha...stride, get it?). So now the pony is barefoot.

I've ridden twice since and he doesn't seem tender footed at all (because my farrier is amazing and I think if you have a good farrier and healthy horse, you should be able to ride right after a trimming!). What he does seem is figgen bonkers! Granite stopped getting grain awhile back bc, well, he takes after his momma and is an easy keeper (plus hes on hay or grass 24/7-- I heart having a horse that lives outside). But now, its really cold winter time and our BO decided that Granite is now a candidate for a once a day 1/2 scoop of pellets. He gets this 1/2 scoop around 5pm. I get off at 4:30, change clothes, drive 15 minutes and arrive at about 5 min til 5 on weekdays. And my horse is bonkers. He has a one track mind.... FOOOOD! And his nighttime pasture mate, Splash-- the innocuous arab (OMG, did I tell you that the Devil Horses have moved...to a different farm! Oh glory to all things good! I'm soooo happy!), criiies for him. So hes got the crying and galloping mare and all the horse's in the pasture beside the arena getting grained and I'm asking the bozo to concentrate. Ha Ha Ha... not happening. Plus the ring has been slushy, so I didn't want to go faster than a trot. So Granite hollows, bites his bit, head in the air, ignoring most aids, and racing around the sloppy arena. Makes for a productive, relaxing ride. Sheeesh! I haven't gotten a good ride out of 2011 yet!

I did try a new bit on Tuesday, it didn't go well. Lots of chewing and head in the air. But I am also attributing that to the feeding issues and general ass-hole-ness the gelding has been portraying this week. So, I think I will try it a few more times. Its a french link, Dee Ring snaffle (JP Korsteel with the curved mouth pieces). I have had so much success with this bit in other horses and I want Granite to like it (I hate his eggbut, but he goes well in it). I'm buying the bit from D, so I think its worth having regardless.

So because my horse has taken up being a jackass (is this like his pre/early teen years-- I vaguely remember telling my mom I hated her and stomping off into my room and slamming the door around 13) and its been barely out of the 30s this week, yesterday I was thinking "man, I would love to skip the freezing cold barn thing and go eat tacos!". But then the BO called. At 3:30pm. At work. Because the grey man had a nose bleed! She was scrubbing water buckets and he wanted to help (typical) and she noticed dried blood in his right nostril. She wanted to call me to tell me to check on it when I went to the barn that evening. Obviously, I quickly changed my mind regarding the tacos. I brought him in and cleaned out his nose. It was just dried and not a lot. I groomed him and chatted with the BO. Then I look back and a fresh stream of red blood is dripping out of my boy's nose! We immediately decided to call the vet (yes, it was 5:06... hello on-call vet). Fortunately, the on-call vet was a really relaxed fellow with whom we often work. He asked us to describe it (intermittent bleed. We would get a trickle ever 5-10 minutes. He also had a fresh surface wound on his right cheek bone). Then he said that he was certain that Granite just whacked himself in the head (I can just envision this happening!) and there was a pool of blood in his sinus cavity that was mixing with his normal mucus and slowly draining. He told us to expect it for the next 2-3 day and to not exercise him or feed him on the ground (although he lives on pasture--thus always has his head on the ground). He said he would come out to look at it if I wanted him to, but he thought that was the deal. I said, "no thank you emergency vet call", and he told me to call if the blood was coming out faster than 1 drip per second or was enough volume to fill a 16oz cup. I felt like the WORST horse parent EVER putting my bloody nose boy back out in the pasture (there are no free stalls or I would have paid for him to be in last night). I went today and there was no sign of blood, so I plan to stay off of him until at least Saturday, but hopefully the vet was right.

So, I got the new job as I mentioned in my last post. I've told my current job and for the most part everyone says they will miss me but are happy for my me (best possible reaction). I start the new gig on Jan 24th. And the only draw back is that my current barn will be about 50minutes from my job and then another 20 from the barn to my new apartment (70 minutes in driving alone to see granite after work). And my barn doesn't have a lighted arena. So I would never get to ride during the week (with the exception of daylight savings time). And I would get home, at the earliest, at 7:30 every night when I could ride. So, I think I'm going to have to move the pony to somewhere in between the new job and the new apt. That breaks my heart! I love my current barn and the uber observant and wonderful BO. I've found a couple places and one that seems really promising. Eva is going to check it out with me on Saturday. Its about the same price and 20min from my house and 30 from the job. Cross your fingers for me.

In more exciting news. I have this friend. She is a member of the local hunt club and a good friend of D's. She rides an awesome QH named Pickle (um, what a cute name!). I knew she was one hell of a horse woman, but today when she mentioned her extensive competition history and her equine education (and degree!) a lightbulb went off in my brain. Um.... she would be a GREAT trainer for Granite and I. I've taken him pretty far in that we have a consistent W-T-C. Now I think I need eyes on the ground to help me progress and get him show-ring ready! This idea is in it's infancy, but I really think Jen is our answer! I'll keep you posted.

I guess thats all of my updates for the time being. I'm LOVING my new apartment and my new roommate. TK sent me the sweetest text this evening "I just thought you should know...  I absolutely love living with you. I'm ready to do it forever." I feel the same way. Its relaxing and simply amazing! Eva is spending tomorrow night with us and I can't wait to have our first house guest! Wahoooo!